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Seb Anthony

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Staff surveys


We have recently completed two staff surveys in two years, before which there was a gap of about 3 years since the previous one. Both recent surveys were comprehensive and useful, and we're now considering how to run them in future. The debate is around how often we should conduct surveys. Some organisations do, I know, do them annually; however, if we retain the comprehensive nature of them there's always a chance that we won't have had time to fully implement any resulting changes before the next survey is due. There's also the potential problem of 'survey overload' among our people. Does anyone have any views/advice on what might be good practice in this area?

Ken Smith

3 Responses

  1. Frequency of surveys
    Hi Ken, I agree with you I think 1 year is too short – by the time you have the results, followed up and then implemented actions the next one will be very close. The organisation I was with for many years found a frequency of 2 years worked well for them. Am interested to see other’s views.

  2. Good practice is what works for you
    First of all, you might get a better response over in HR Zone, unless your survey is specifically about staff views on your training function ?

    The success of your survey depends on zillions of factors; there IS no one size fits all and unfortunately the best measure of success in my view is the participation rate trend, which is backward-looking. It’s unusual I think to hold them more than annually especially if seasonal factors may affect the numbers, but there are cases where it could be justified, eg if you want to take soundings after a round of redundancies.

  3. More surveys, more speed, more progress ?

    If as you say both previous surveys were “useful”, then I’d very much carry on as you were…

    I suspect that there are maybe some that think the survey could be of more use if you had more time to take the relevant action after the results have been analysed. Of course everyone can do a better job if they have more time to achieve it.

    Sometimes though organisations who set themselves stretching goals in terms of developing the survey sction plan are actually more likely to get things done. Speed sometimes does actually help in situations like this.

    My advice (and by the way this is my core business) is to keep the frequency at one year intervals and consider cutting back from the “comprehensive” survey in order to concentrate on the questions which are the key drivers of the strategic business change you are trying to achieve in the first place.



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